Lebanon 2017
A Year of Asylum: Facts and Rhetoric
لبنان ٢٠١٧

يوميّات اللجوء وأحاديثه
© 2018 UMAM D&R
Arabic with an English abstract

When Lebanon's new government took power at the end of 2016, it was quickly apparent that the issue of refugees within the country would remain relevant – and likely unsolved – for the near future. Inaugural addresses and statements diverged over how best to handle asylum in Lebanon. Although refugees have been present in Lebanon during some of the country's most critical moments, both in times of peace and war, the topic has traditionally failed to garner adequate attention, the type of interest and understanding that moves beyond political statements and exploitation of the subject for personal gain. Although UMAM D&R has been building a repository of documentation about asylum in Lebanon, it felt discussions over the matter were in need of stimulation.

In 2017, UMAM D&R began leaning on its vast archival collection efforts to focus attention on the refugee issues and developments in a yearly manner, honing in on specific updates, speeches, and events that it believed were most important or significant. Syrian refugees were the starting point, however, the project quickly widened its focus to include other refugee groups. The project also takes a step back, removing the refugees themselves from the equation and looking just at Lebanon. Is this a country of refuge? A place where at-risk populations are welcomed into a safe and secure environment?

In a country as small yet multi-colored as Lebanon, attitudes about refugees and asylum are fluid, changing with the various political currents and social developments—and combustions. The 2017 edition of "A Year of Asylum: Facts and Rhetoric" is the inaugural publication in what will be a series of compilations that leverage UMAM D&R's documentation background to highlight the refugee developments that are most pressing, and thus most likely to bear significance in the role asylum plays in Lebanon's future.

This publication is part of the Most Welcome? Lebanon Through Its Refugees initiative and was made possible thanks to funding from the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).